Ruth Finnegan’s Oral Literature in Africa was first published in 1970, and
since then has been widely praised as one of the most important books in
its field. Based on years of fieldwork, the study traces the history of
storytelling across the continent of Africa.
This revised edition makes Finnegan’s ground-breaking research available
to the next generation of scholars. It includes a new introduction,
additional images and an updated bibliography, as well as its original
chapters on poetry, prose, "drum language” and drama, and an overview of
the social, linguistic and historical background of oral literature in
This volume is complemented by original recordings of stories and songs
from the Limba country (Sierra Leone), collected by Finnegan during her
fieldwork in the late 1960s, which are freely accessible here.
The book is available as a free pdf and ebook download thanks to the
generous support of interested readers and organisations, who made
donations using the crowd-funding website unglue.it.
Oral Literature in Africa is part of the World Oral Literature Series
published in conjunction with the World Oral Literature Project.